Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

Spotlight on Krista MacCallum

CVI Staff Member’s Personal Journey Inspires her Passion to Teach

“It was my home away from home. STARS provided me with a community where I felt accepted, understood and supported.” Krista MacCallum has gone from a student in the STARS program at the Center for the Visually Impaired to becoming a member of the Children & Youth Services department staff. She is a paraprofessional in CVI’s Preschool Class and an instructor in the STARS after school program, and she loves it.

STARS, which stands for Social, Therapeutic, Academic and Recreational Services, provides programming with an emphasis on the components of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). The ECC includes nine areas of focus: functional academic skills; orientation and mobility; social interaction skills; independent living skills; recreation and leisure skills; sensory efficiency skills; career education; self-determination and use of assistive technology. Krista’s personal experience growing up with and living with a visual impairment gives her a perspective that helps her connect with the students she teaches at CVI.

Diagnosed with Stargartd’s Macular Degeneration, Krista began coming to CVI at the age of 11. She remained part of the program through high school graduation. During that time, she learned to read Braille, type and use assistive technology among other things. In the fall of 2018, she was hired as a paraprofessional when CVI launched the Toddler Class. Krista says that being in that role really opened her eyes to how critical it is for students with visual impairments to receive individualized services that make learning accessible for them.

“I see the excitement each child has when they are presented with an adapted book or tactual lesson because they are able to understand something that they couldn’t before because of their vision loss,” says Krista. “I want to be a Teacher of the Visually Impaired because it makes me so happy to provide these students with what they need to experience learning in a way that resonates with them.”

As a STARS instructor, Krista not only serves as a teacher but also as a mentor. Her own experience as a STARS student is where she developed confidence, independence and the ability to advocate for herself and others. When asked what she hopes her students take away from their time with her at CVI Krista said, “I hope my students walk away with the confidence that they can do just about anything they set their minds to. That even though they might need to do things differently, anything is possible. I hope they will take away how to be an advocate for themselves, work hard and live independent lives.”

Krista is a valued member of our staff. She is helping to inspire future generations living with vision loss to strive to be whatever they want regardless of what limits the world may try to put on them. We are incredibly thankful for Krista’s personal passion, drive and what she brings to CVI.

“I can honestly say that my passion and drive came from being a student at CVI. CVI showed me that I could do more than what the world said I could. I am who I am because of the services CVI provides,” said Krista.

As 2019 comes to an end, please consider making a gift to CVI as part of your year-end giving. Your support will change the lives of so many people and will truly make a remarkable impact on our community. You will help other people like Krista reach their goals.